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For the second time this bowl season, a team will host its own game, as the Hawaii Warriors will take on the Tulsa Golden Hurricane over at Aloha Stadium on the Big Island. If you're a fan of offense, this is the game for you, as there is no doubt that these two teams are going to try to get up the field in a hurry. But which way will the Hawaii Bowl odds bounce on Christmas Eve? Check out our analysis of this duel the day before Christmas to give yourself an early gift under the tree.
Hawaii Bowl Matchup: Tulsa Golden Hurricane vs. Hawaii Warriors
Date: Friday, December 24th, 8:00 ET
Location: Aloha Stadium, Honolulu, HI
Hawaii Bowl Line: Hawaii -10
Golden Hurricane Notes: There aren't many team in the country that are as well rounded offensively as the Golden Hurricane. Tulsa is averaging 506.0 yards per game, good enough for No. 5 in the land, and it is one of the few teams in the nation that is averaging over 200 yards per game both through the air and on the ground. The ironic thing about Head Coach Todd Graham's club though, is that There isn't a player on the team that has more than 557 rushing yards or more than 771 receiving yards. QB GJ Kinne is the man that makes this quick fire offense go. He threw for 3,307 yards and 28 TDs this year, and he was also the leading rusher on the team with 557 yards and seven scores as well. There wasn't a single player on the team that had more than 84 rushes this year, but from WR Damaris Johnson all the way through RB Willie Carter, there were another 313 carries for 1,969 yards and 22 scores. Through the air, Johnson was the man that really took charge. He had 53 receptions for 771 yards and three TDs. WR Charles Clay was the team's leading touchdown man in the aerial assault with seven. We know that this offense can put points on the board in bunches, as it scored at least 41 points six times this year. The problem came on the other side of the ball, where the squad conceded at least 50 three times and averaged allowing 29.9 points per game. Tulsa's biggest problem in this one is the passing defense, which ranked second to last in the country at 305.7 yards per game.
Warriors Notes: When you think of Hawaii football, you think of a quarterback dropping back and throwing the ball 60 times each and every game. Though this the concept offensively, it isn't always how it is applied thanks to the running abilities of RB Alex Green. Green was actually one of the top rushers in the WAC this year in spite of the fact that he only had 133 carries on the year. He rushed for 1,168 yards and 17 TDs, averaging 8.8 yards per carry, one of the top marks in the land amongst running backs. However, don't let this fool you. QB Bryant Moniz did throw the ball 508 times this year, and he turned it into 4,629 yards, easily the most in the country. Odds have it, Moniz is going to be the only 5,000 yard quarterback in the land this year, and he has 36 TDs against 11 picks to show for his work. Of course, with the trio of WR Greg Salas, WR Kealoha Pilares, and WR Royce Pollard, Moniz would be nowhere. Salas posted some of the best marks for receivers in the country with 106 grabs, 1,675 yards, and 12 TDs. Pilares actually had more TDs than Salas did with 15, and he had the best numbers in the land for a No. 2 receiver with 88 grabs and 1,306 yards. Pollard was the top third receiver in the country with 56 receptions, 772 yards, and six scores. The defense for Hawaii averaged allowing 341.8 yards per game this year, and giving up 22.7 points per game is a very respectable number, especially when you consider the fact that the offense was putting up a shade under 40 points per game this year.
The Final Word: This is Hawaii's game to lose on Christmas Eve, and we fully expect to see it take the fullest advantage of it. The Warriors just have too much offense and know that they aren't going to be stopped unless the Golden Hurricane end up bringing something out of their hat that we haven't seen yet this year. Tulsa's offense just needs to get stopped once or twice, and it really could be all over but the crying for the de facto visitors.
Hawaii Bowl Free Pick: Hawaii -10
Hawaii Bowl Prediction: Hawaii 51 – Tulsa 34